Swedish de­light

NORSE NOVICE: Ea­ger to leave her ski com­fort zone, Tori Mayo ex­plores the pistes of Are in the Swedish Alps.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Travel -

EING a sea­soned skier, I nor­mally head for the French or Swiss Alps in win­ter. Iconic peaks, world-class pistes and a lively apres ski at­mos­phere keep me coming back year af­ter year.

But ea­ger to try some­thing dif­fer­ent, I agreed to pack my sa­lopettes and head to Scan­di­navia.

Though fa­mous for flat-pack fur­ni­ture, blonde-haired beau­ties, ABBA and Stieg Lars­son crime nov­els, Swe­den is not so well-known as a ski des­ti­na­tion. The north­ern re­gion– of­ten re­ferred to as the Swedish Alps – has 13 ma­jor re­sorts, mostly clus­tered around its cen­tral­west­ern bor­der with Nor­way.

I flew into Swe­den’s Oster­sund air­port to spend three nights in Are (pro­nounced or-a).

Lo­cated in Jamt­land, Swe­den’s sec­ond largest province, Are is Scan­di­navia’s main moun­tain city. The ski area stretches across six main re­sorts from Duved in the west to Are Bjor­nen in the east, and the Alpine World Cham­pi­onships were held here in 2007. A clus­ter of colour­ful wooden build­ings makes the area look like a large vil­lage,

Black, tree-cov­ered,

Ne­olithic-look­ing mounds are a sharp con­trast to the Alps.

while the vast lake Aresjon and the smooth-topped Aresku­tan moun­tain pro­vide a scenic back­drop.

I checked into the large ski-in ski-out Tott Hotell, lo­cated at the bot­tom of the Tot­tliften lift, ser­vic­ing sev­eral red and blue runs. Clean lines, glossy sur­faces and bright colours char­ac­terise the ho­tel lobby, while other com­mu­nal ar­eas are more tra­di­tional in style. Vin­tage skis, beaten-up leather so­fas and rein­deer­skin throws made the place feel dis­tinctly Scan­di­na­vian.

If my days were to be spent hurtling down moun­tains, my evenings would be en­joyed in the lounge bar, hot tubs, sauna and spa. My spa­cious, en-suite room fea­tured ba­sic cook­ing fa­cil­i­ties, mini bar and a view of the lake.

The most no­tice­able dif­fer­ence ski­ing here com­pared to France or Switzer­land is the ter­rain. Sim­i­lar to the Scot­tish Cairn­gorms, the black, tree-cov­ered, Ne­olithic-look­ing mounds are a sharp con­trast to the jagged peaks which reach as far as the eye can see in the south­ern Euro­pean Alps. The slopes are also much qui­eter and lift queues were non-ex­is­tent.

The pistes had cer­tainly ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions, but would the food and drink be equally as im­pres­sive?

ADREN­A­LINE: ‘Zip lin­ing’ is another way of adding ex­cite­ment to ski­ing breaks in the Are area of Swe­den.

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